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Is It Time to Disrupt Yourself or Continue Onward?

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I tend to get restless and easily bored. That’s probably not the greatest trait as an entrepreneur, but in the 23 years I have had my business, I have “shifted” many times as my industry has changed or as I saw an opportunity to disrupt my own business and grow it.

There are times I felt restless and wanted to totally disrupt my business to follow a new idea (like an app that I still have on the back-burner) but I was either too busy with the current business to chase the idea too far, or my very wise husband put his “blanket of reality” on the idea. He would remind me of the high cost and time commitment of app development. He’s been involved with several start-ups and knows first-hand so I returned it to the back-burner for now.

Sometimes we sit too long, and our industry or other outside factors disrupt us. Like anyone selling fax machines or portable GPS devices for our cars knows all too well. There are far too many examples of businesses that go under because they didn’t disrupt themselves early enough to keep up with changes happening and the outside forces came and disrupted them.

We often hear the story of Blockbuster Video who sat too long and was disrupted by outside forces, but what about Netflix? Netflix disrupted their own video business. They were rockin’ the DVD mail service, but then soon realized they needed to disrupt themselves when they saw where digital media was going. They squiggled a bit to go from the mail back and forth video DVDs, to the hottest online video content company out there. We aren’t wasting our nights binge-watching Blockbuster shows.

We have to know when it’s time to disrupt ourselves and when we may need to sit a while longer. Sometimes we need to realize our restlessness may be causing us to chase something new and shiny. Persistence and perseverance are hard when we are restless or when things aren’t going as well as we’d like. Sometimes we see things changing around us and we hunker down, hoping the storm will pass. I see this with many people when it comes to digital and social marketing.

So how do we know when it’s time to move, even just a little? How do we know when it’s time to completely disrupt our current path and squiggle onto another? Since I tend to use the word “squiggle” a lot, I thought PASTA was a good word to help us when we feel that urge to DISRUPT or SQUIGGLE:

P- pause before you disrupt.

When we feel that urge to jump ship and dive into something completely new, we need to pause. Take time to reflect on what is working, what is not. Sometimes we want to change or squiggle out of sheer restlessness or current difficulties. Spend some time observing. Draw out your customer journey. What is working for them? What could be improved? Perhaps you will discover a new product or service offering is really a better move over a complete shift.

A- ask others for input.

When we are feeling restless and like disruption is needed, make some time to talk to others. Whether you have a business coach, a mastermind group or other colleagues, invite them to coffee or lunch and open up to them about your ideas and feelings to get their input. Listen to what they have to say

S- search for confirmation.

Now it’s time to do some homework on your ideas. Search the internet and see who else, and what else is out there, that can give you the confirmation or simply, more information to help you make the decision. Do you need to mystery shop some other companies doing something similar? Can you find information that proves there is an audience for your new idea?

T- test all ideas.

It’s time to test your idea. Before you quit your day job or tell your current team members that you are closing the doors to start a new venture, throw your idea out and see if you get some takers. If your idea is in alignment with what you are currently doing, ask current customers for their input. Would they buy this product or service? Ask your social media audience. You need to know if your idea meets the needs of your current audience or if you need to find new people to connect with. You won’t know until you do a few tests. Success often comes after many tests and failures.

A- alter your plan.

After you have tested your idea(s), and you’ve decided to incorporate some of the changes, you will need to alter your plans. This might be your current offerings or the copy that is on your current website, or it might mean it will alter your entire business plan. Know that you will always be testing, squiggling and altering. That’s just part of growing and staying on top of what is happening in your industry.

Related: Why You Might Need Monk Time to Grow Your Business

In business we don’t want to be on either extreme: Sitting too long and waiting to be disrupted by outside forces or disrupting ourselves too often and not sitting still long enough to see if we just need to persevere through some tough times or times when shiny objects are in our way.

Which side have you found yourself on in the past?  I’d love to hear from you.

Leave me a comment below or connect with me on any social channel and let’s continue the discussion…hurry there is surely a shiny object in my view soon.

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